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Planning Court Judgments

Our latest update as to any rulings last week of the Planning Court together with any relevant appellate judgments, along with a commentary by Town Legal LLP and links. Where appropriate, we also include other relevant public law rulings from other courts.

Weekly Update – Week to 16 Aug 2019

This is a list of judgments of the Planning Court following a full hearing, or arising from an appeal from a Planning Court judgment, that were handed down in the preceding week. All links are to the relevant BAILII transcript. Summaries are for information only and are not to be relied upon as advice.

Index:

  1. Corbett v The Cornwall Council [2019] EWHC 1022 (Admin) (01 May 2019)
  2. Terry, R (On the Application Of) v Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council [2019] EWHC 2046 (Admin) (26 February 2019)

1. Corbett v The Cornwall Council [2019] EWHC 1022 (Admin) (01 May 2019)

Full Case: Click Here

Commentary: A planning permission to extend a holiday park within an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) was quashed by the High Court as the decision did not accord with the development plan.

A claimant successfully challenged Cornwall Council’s decision to grant planning permission for an extension of a holiday caravan park on two grounds. Firstly, that the defendant failed to take into account the development plan properly or at all, and secondly that in the circumstances its reasons for granting planning permission were inadequate.

The development plan consisted of the Council’s up to date Local Plan, plus a number of saved policies from older Local Plans. Saved Policy 14 stated that “Developments would not be permitted that would cause harm to the landscape, features and characteristics of AGLV.”

The committee meeting at which the decision under challenge was taken was informed by the Officer’s Report. The report concluded that the proposed extension to the holiday park would cause a slight/moderate impact upon the AGLV, something that should be given limited weight. The Defendant submitted that its decision to grant planning permission did not go against the development plan as the characteristics of the land had changed since the policy was adopted in 2001 and therefore the policy had to read in accordance with newly adopted policies such as an overriding presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The judge disagreed with the Defendant’s submissions, emphasising that the function of Saved Policy 14 was to prevent developments that would cause harm to the landscape from being permitted. As the development did not accord with Saved Policy 14 the presumption in favour of sustainable development did not apply. The Officer’s Report incorrectly interpreted Saved Policy 14 and as such it was not made plain to the Committee that the development plan required the application to be refused unless material considerations indicated otherwise. Considering this therefore the Report contained “a distinct and material defect” and the permission was quashed.


2. Terry, R (On the Application Of) v Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council [2019] EWHC 2046 (Admin) (26 February 2019)

Full Case: Click Here

Commentary: This was a renewal of a permission hearing in which the Claimant sought permission to challenge the decision of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council to grant a residential planning permission. Holgate J refused the application on its two grounds. In the first of these grounds the Claimant alleged that the planning report incorrectly reported that there was no direct relationship between the proposed development and nearby residential dwellings. The judge found that the relevant planning officer had carried out a site visit and omitted to refer to the existing properties on the basis that there was no potential for overlooking from these properties. This, it was held, was a planning judgment that did not meet the legal burden for a finding of irrationality and therefore in which the Court could not interfere.

The judge gave little time to the second ground  in which the Claimant alleged that the planning officer had not taken into consideration a development plan policy restricting development in the countryside, The planning report was clear that the development was outside of a settlement boundary and the policy in question was so ‘trite’, to use the judges’s word, that it was one which professional decision makers should be considered to be keeping in mind when making any decision even if no explicit reference to it is made.

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